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Wesley Snipes

Before becoming a mainstay in the straight to DVD market –as well as his recent three year jail sentence for tax evasion – Wesley Snipes was sitting pretty as a bankable movie star.

Able to portray varied characters in numerous genres, Snipes found his niche as an action star thanks to his roles as a sadistic arch criminal in Demolition Man (which he co-headlined with Sylvester Stallone), and as a vampire slayer in the profitable comic book franchise, Blade. But it was drama where his talent really shone, as seen in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, and the little seen The Waterdance.

A supporting role in the upcoming Antoine Fuqua directed crime/drama Brooklyn’s Finest has Snipes on the right track for a comeback. But with millions of back taxes to be paid, it will be seen whether Snipes sticks to choosing the right roles –as he did early in his career – or taking on the money roles. It would be a waste of talent and charisma if the latter comes to fruition.  


Tom Sizemore

Throughout the 1990s, Tom Sizemore created a career built on solid supporting roles, usually upstaging his co-stars with his domineering screen presence, which left a lasting impression on viewers and critics alike.

Having worked with the best directors in the business (Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Ridley Scott, to name a few), Sizemore was poised to move into leading man territory, before his long infested drug abuse finally caught up with him and crippled his career to a the point where to mention his name will have most recall his sordid drug use and venture into amateur pornography, which is a shame considering his wonderful performances in Black Hawk Down and Heat.

Although still working, with several projects either released or in post production this year alone, Sizemore is still a long way from A-list features. Perhaps it’s time Sizemore was given another shot.


Winona Ryder

Hollywood can be ruthless. Just look at Winona Ryder. The two time Oscar nominee and darling to the alternative set –due to her roles in Heathers and Reality Bites – saw her once prosperous career crumble all around her, when she was charged with shoplifting from an upscale clothing store in Beverly Hills.

Perhaps due to her scandalous criminal behaviour, Ryder has been unable to get her career back on track, with her biggest high profile films thus far being Richard Linklater’s sci-fi trip A Scanner Darkly, and a cameo in J.J. Abrams Star Trek.

Rumours of a sequel to Heathers continues to be bashed about, although it seems unlikely. What Ryder really needs is a juicy dramatic supporting role to make critics to stand up and take notice of just how talented and alluring she is. Thus the Reign of Ryder can start again.     


Sharon Stone

After being robbed of an Oscar for her incredible turn in Casino (and you all know it!), forever sex bomb Sharon Stone has not been able to find the right roles needed to flex her well toned acting muscles.

Coming to the world’s attention as a bisexual, vagina flashing serial killer in Basic Instinct, Stone has built a career portraying tough female characters in otherwise dud films. Yet once in awhile a movie would come along that would match Stone’s acting prowess, as seen in Martin Scorsese’s Casino and her recent supporting turns in Bobby and Broken Flowers.

An unfortunate side bar to all of this is Stone’s tendency to utter ill advised comments, such as the assertion that the 2008 China earthquakes was an act of karma. Yet placing her personal opinions aside –as everyone else does in regards to Sean Penn and Spike Lee – Stone should be given the chance to take on a juicy role – perhaps in the vein of Marisa Tomei’s in The Wrestler - which will remind people just how good an actress (and surprisingly sexy) she still is.


Geena Davis

An Oscar winner and star of modern classics The Fly and Thelma and Louise, the statuesque Geena Davis has not been able to get her career back on track, after the critical and financial disaster which was Cutthroat Island.

Although able to play comedy, drama, and action (a rare feat for an actress in Hollywood), Davis has spent the last decade pursuing outside interests –such as trying out for the United States’ Olympic Archery team – while delving into the occasional acting job with stints in television, with the Geena Davis Show (a sitcom) and Commander in Chief. Neither show would last more than one season, although the latter earned Davis Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actor’s Guild nominations.

Now seen as neither a bankable movie nor TV star, it will be interesting to see how Davis plans to get her career back to par. Her first step seems to be the right one, starring in the Australian produced independent black comedy, Accidents Happen. Hopefully, her performance will spout a late career comeback for the talented actress.   


Patrick Swayze

Albeit his immensely popular standing amongst the tabloid crowd –due to his leading man roles in Dirty Dancing and Ghost – Patrick Swayze the actor has not taken the multiplexes by storm since co-starring alongside Keanu Reeves in 1991’s crime thriller,  Point Break.

With a career featuring more turkey’s than a produce farm, Swayze has never the less kept audiences and critics on their two’s with inspiring supporting turns in Donnie Darko, Keeping Mum, and the recently released to DVD Powder Blue. If only he can channel his talent and charisma onto a larger canvas, then Swayze could become more than a star resting on past glories.

Of course, and unfortunate sidebar to all of this is Swayze’s current fight with pancreatic cancer. Here is to a speedy recovery, and an improved film career.

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Cuba Gooding Jr.

It has become quite an endurance test watching Cuba Gooding Jr. waste his career away. Here is an actor capable of both powerful restraint and grandstanding aplomb; a onetime successor to Denzel Washington, who after his explosive breakthrough in John Singleton’s urban drama, Boyz ‘n’ the Hood, would go on to win the best supporting actor Oscar five years later for his role as a cocky NFL player, in Jerry Maguire.

Call it the curse of the Oscars, but after his win Gooding Jr. has not been able to reclaim that once magnetic screen magic, opting for poor forays into indigestible comedies (Boat Trip; Norbit) and family entertainment (Snow Dogs; Daddy Day Camp.)

Once in a while came glimpses of the Cuba Gooding Jr. we all once loved. Naval drama Men of Honour had him holding his own against Robert De Niro; and his frustratingly minor role in Ridley Scott’s American Gangster showed that he is still more than capable to hold the screen in a big budget, star powered feature.     

Future projects seem promising, especially the George Lucas scripted Red Tails, based on the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American pilots to fight during WWII. With hope, Gooding Jr. recognises this film as his chance to fall into the good graces of critics and casting agents.   


Eric Roberts

Perhaps it is time that the good fortune of his The Pope of Greenwich Village co-star, Mickey Rourke, rubbed off on Eric Roberts.

More talented yet less marketable than his sister, Julia, Eric Roberts’ career started strong, with noted turns in King of the Gypsies and Runaway Train (for which he received an Oscar nomination),  until his taste for narcotics derailed his bright future to a never ending stream of forgettable roles and TV guest spots.

Yet while he has not been bereft of work (176 credits at IMDB affirms this), what Roberts needs is the opportunity to show off his thespian expertise, much like Rourke had with The Wrestler. A recent turn as a mobster in The Dark Knight, and an upcoming role in Sylvester Stallone’s action spectacular The Expendables is a good start. Now only for a Darren Aronofsky to place him back in the running as an awards calibre actor.      


Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis’ latest big screen role was in last year’s miserable excuse of a family movie, Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Surely one of Hollywood’s most underrated and entertaining actresses could get something better than that?

The child of Holllywood royalty, Tony Curits and Janet Leigh, Curtis has been the recipient of BAFTA and Golden Globe awards. Known at the beginning of her career as a scream queen, due to her appearances in Halloween and The Fog, Curtis went on to become both a sex symbol (True Lies), and talented comedian (A Fish Called Wanda) before saying goodbye to the acting game in 2006.

Now back to work after a two year layoff, Curtis is sure to find it a hard task nabbing roles worthy of her talent. After all, being a middle age woman who embraces rather than conceals her imperfections, is not a good combination for success in the superficial climate of Hollywood.     

Perhaps now is the time that the industry’s power players focus their attention on the likes of Curtis and her sturdy talent, rather than the unpredictable and messy nature of, say, Lindsay Lohan. Speaking of which, didn’t Curtis blow her off the screen in 2003’s Freaky Friday?     


Michael Keaton

During the summer of 1992, Michael Keaton was sitting pretty as the biggest star in Hollywood.

Making his mark as a comedic actor throughout the 1980s, with roles in Night Shift and Mr. Mom, Keaton’s career hit pay dirt when a young visionary named Tim Burton cast him in the title role of dark comedy, Beetle Juice. Next came the big kahunna: Batman, where Keaton nailed the gloom and duality of the dark knight, calming the nerves of the comic book’s most strident of fans and raking in the big bucks.

Yet after reprising his signature role in Batman Returns, the 1990s proved to be unforgiving as Keaton’s box office clout fizzled. His roles became increasingly smaller and his films less than favourable, in spite of receiving warm notices in Quentin Tarantino heist film Jackie Brown, and a Golden Globe nomination for TV movie Live from Baghdad.

And what a shame that is: an enthusiastically entertaining performer, Keaton can play both comedy and drama; hero and villain. His unpredictable temperament keeps viewers on their toes; while his sharp wit leaves them in stitches. And yet lesser talent appear in more multiplexes?! Not fair.

A debut behind then lens with The Merry Gentleman has brought Keaton his best notices in years. Perhaps the start of a long overdue career comeback; perhaps another false hope of another recovery. One thing is for sure: Michael Keaton is too talented to be relegated as a bench player. Give him the ball, and watch great things happen.          


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